The 2010 MLB trading deadline draws near and the temperature on the hot stove is being turned up as we head into the all-star break. Teams are lining up who they will pursue and the price tag any acquisition will come with.
Heavy focus has been centered around Seattle Mariners left-hander Cliff Lee but there are many, many options out there teams could go after instead of Lee or others. Nevertheless, many notable players figure to change uniforms over the next three weeks. Here is a look at the top 50 on the block.
Will the Mets actually find a way to dump Castillo and his bloated salary before the end of the season? The front office probably hopes so. The Mets will likely be in the market for some middle infield help, but will surely take a deal that allows them to jettison the maligned Castillo and the roughly $3 million he is owed for the second half of the season.
Teams Interested: TBD
What It Would Take: The Mets finding a team willing to bite the bullet on $3 million dollars in order to get a deal done that is mutually beneficial to both sides.
Flores is one of the leading prospects in the Mets system, and if you believe Buster Olney’s reports he will be the centerpiece of a deal if the Mets pull the trigger on Cliff Lee. Flores is an 18-year-old shortstop in High-A whose promise lies mostly with the bat.
Teams Interested: Seattle Mariners
What It Would Take: First the Mets need to find out if they truly are contenders by the end of July. If they are and remain near or at the top of the NL East, the pressure will be on to make a deal for Cliff Lee.
The deal could happen simply because the Mets want it worse than anyone. In addition to Flores, however, the Mets must also fill out the rest of the deal with strong prospects. Right-hander Jenrry Mejia will likely be involved as well.
The pair of backstops are two of the top prospects in the Yankees system. They have so far been a few of the untouchables for the pinstripers, but the Yankees previously dangled both in a near-deal for Roy Halladay. It would take an established front line player to pry both from the Yankees, but teams like both Romine’s and Montero’s big bat potential
Teams Interested: Seattle Mariners
What It Would Take: The Yankees willing to first part ways with one of their top prospects given the age of Jorge Posada. Montero is the better bat, but Romine is more of the complete package behind the plate. The Yankees are “monitoring” the Cliff Lee talks and know that it will require they send one of these catchers westward to acquire the Mariners ace.
Ramos is one of the Twins’ top prospects, but his ceiling in that organization is limited. Why? Because his position is currently blocked by Joe Mauer. Ramos filled in admirably while Mauer was sidelined earlier in the season, but was showcased enough that teams should be interested in making him their catcher of the future.
Teams Interested: Seattle Mariners
What It Would Take: The Twins have their name in the hat for Cliff Lee, but any acquisition of Lee comes at a price. Lee is a free agent at the end of the year and the Twins may not be ready to invest another $100 million contract after inking Mauer to a massive deal. The Twins must examine the risk and reward of giving up one of their top prospects for what may just be a rental.
Teams know what they are getting with Everett. He is a light-hitting shortstop who can glove and fill in both positions up the middle in a pinch. He isn’t a long term value and he isn’t going to give a team much in terms of production. However, he is a steady big league veteran who can step in for a team with infield needs.
Teams Interested: Red Sox, Angels, Rockies
What It Would Take: Likely not much. Everett only makes $1.5 million and is a spare part at the end of the bench once the starter returns. In this case, Everett would fill in for Dustin Pedroia in Boston, Maicer Izturis in Los Angeles, and Troy Tulowitzki in Colorado. A mid-level minor leaguer and someone off the 40-man roster should be sufficient.
It has not been a good year for the Mariners closer. He has 16 saves, but he also sports an 0-5 record, 5.33 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP. Those are bad signs for a closer. Nevertheless, there are teams out there interested in Aardsma as a late-inning reliever. With the Mariners likely to go nowhere this summer, Aardsma could be on his way out of town.
Teams Interested: Red Sox, Twins
What It Would Take: Aardsma’s performance this season will not generate much value going back to Seattle. A couple of minor leaguers, likely one pitcher and one position player should get it done. The Red Sox need help now that Manny Delcarmen is on the shelf (though they need help anyway).
Meanwhile, the loss of Joe Nathan before the season shifted the Twins bullpen all up one rung on the ladder, exposing the 7th and 8th innings leading to Jon Rauch.
Lowell has seen limited time this season and is currently on the disabled list with recurrent hip problems. However, there is still one suitor out there that is, for whatever reason, still interested in the elder third baseman.
Teams Interested: Rangers
What It Would Take: A deal for Lowell to Texas was in place during the offseason before it fell through with the news of a thumb injury. Yet, the Rangers have yet to completely remove their interest. At this point, it would take something very limited, likely one minor leaguer, to get Lowell out of Boston. The injury hurts his trade value, but the Rangers want a bench bat and could still make the deal on the cheap if they believe Lowell could get healthy.
Qualls has been a nightmare for the D’backs this season. The opposition has tuned him up for a 8.23 ERA with a WHIP over 2.00. Nevertheless, teams are looking for late-inning help and Qualls was a successful closer in 2009.
Teams Interested: Red Sox, Twins
What It Will Take: Not much considering his performance this season and the fact that he is a rental with a $4.1 million contract. Both teams could likely swing the deal for a couple of non-descript minor league arms by accepting the full boat of Qualls remaining contract.
Blalock didn’t even start the season on the Rays’ 25-man roster and his production has been limited in his 26 games with the club. However, that may not dissuade teams looking for power off the bench.
Teams Interested: Angels
What It Will Take: The Angels want power off the bench, but Blalock’s standing with the Rays figures to decrease his price tag. Blalock, who signed a minor league deal prior to the season, will likely command a solid minor leaguer probably at the Double-A level.
Guthrie and his $3 million salary are likely on their way out of Baltimore. Guthrie has underachieved for the Orioles after showing up as a late-bloomer four seasons ago. Guthrie has always maintained interest from other teams because of his mid--90s fastball, but a 23-38 record since the start of 2008 has him on his last gasp in Baltimore.
Teams Interested: Rangers, Padres
What It Will Take: The Rangers are dealing with a thin rotation that currently lacks Rich Harden and Derek Holland. The Padres are pitching their way to first place in the NL West but wouldn’t mind Guthrie’s velocity in a rotation that lacks a true hard-thrower.
The Padres may be forced to hand over one of their younger pitchers in Clayton Richard. The Rangers, meanwhile, have a host of young arms in their farm system and could pluck Guthrie for a minor league arm.
Simply put, it has been a horrible year for Kerry Wood. The Indians closer holds a 6.62 ERA and has successfully closed just eight games this season. He has been a significant reason why the Indians ranked last in the American League with losses out of the bullpen. A career-high WHIP (1.47) and career low K/9 IP ratio (8.7) are ugly for a closer.
Teams Interested: Red Sox, Phillies, Cardinals
What It Will Take: Any team willing to eat roughly $5 million dollars left in Wood’s salary this year with the belief it can turn Wood into a viable late-inning arm. The Indians desire for cap relief will likely generate little value in any minor leaguers coming back. It’s all about eating salary in this cash dump for the Tribe.
Gregg has endured a steady, yet unspectacular year as the Blue Jays closer. He has been up and down for the Blue Jays, but could be looked upon as a setup man or possibly a closer for a contender.
Teams Interested: Twins, Phillies, Reds, Tigers
What It Will Take: All three teams are looking for bullpen help while the Blue Jays could use another bat in the order to hit for average and work the small ball game. Drew Stubbs makes the best sense from the Reds. Stubbs can hit for some power and steals a good amount of bases.
League was acquired by the Mariners in the offseason, but could be on the move because he is a hard-thrower with lots of movement. League is having one of the better seasons of his career and is no stranger to the eighth inning.
Teams Interested: Tigers, Red Sox
What It Will Take: League fills the need to replace Zumaya while he can make for a formidable threesome of hard-throwers in Boston. Plus, League has a history of pitching well against the Yankees. That may be enough to persuade Boston to the pull the trigger. In that event, the Red Sox could be looking at Ramon Ramirez going the other way.
The Indians are looking for suitors of one of their longest-tenured veterans, but right now the interested teams are very limited. Peralta offers solid value because of good pop and the flexibility to play both positions on the left side. He is having an off year but a change of scenario could be just what he needs.
Teams Interested: Phillies
What It Will Take: Not much. The Indians are waffling on whether they want to deal Peralta and as mentioned the interested parties are few. The Phillies may look at Peralta simply as an insurance policy for Placido Polanco who is out 3-4 weeks and Chase Ultey who will miss significant time. Non-descript minor leaguers should be enough if Cleveland decides to deal Peralta.
Sheets had endured a underwhelming season in his return from injury, but one positive is that he is showing durability and that can take you a long way on the trade market. He is 3-7 with a 4.98 ERA. Sheets will only give a team six innigs, but he is going out there every fifth day and that’s more than he’s done over the past few seasons.
Teams Interested: Rangers
What It Will Take: There is only tepid interest in Sheets at this point with the lone suitor to be the Rangers. The Rangers nearly signed him in the offseason, but now they could get their guy at half the rate for the homestretch. Billy Beane will likely oversell Sheets and thus push teams out of the market considering the roughly $5 million left on his contract.
Dotel is another reliever having an underwhelming season, but he has closer experience and is a hard thrower. That could be enough to trigger teams interest. Dotel, who has 17 saves and a 4.55 ERA for the Pirates this season, pitches for a team that is not shy about trading away talent regardless of how productive the player is.
Teams Interested: Tigers
What It Will Take: Likely not much. The Pirates would like be willing to take young left-hander Andrew Oliver plus two more minor leaguers for Dotel who would instantly slide into the 8th inning role in front of Jose Valverde.
Buck has enjoyed a surprising year for the Blue Jays, but that does not mean the team will keep him around past the deadline. The quicker the Blue Jays slip out of playoff contention (and the day is rapidly coming), the more likely they will be to trade away pieces. Buck has 13 home runs this season and could instantly help a team looking for added pop and help behind the plate.
Teams Interested: Reds
The Reds and Blue Jays have done business before which helps the chances of this deal. The Reds have Ramon Hernandez as their everyday catcher, but there is little help behind him and the Reds could use another bat. They could ride Buck’s power in the small Great American Ballpark and have a strong battery combination with Hernandez. Sending a number of prospects back to Toronto (which wants to continue its reconstruction of the farm) is a starting point.
Lopez’s production is way down from last year, but he offers the most of the middle infielders likely on the market. Lopez can play all three positions in the outfield and actually does have pop despite his five home runs this season (he hit 25 HR in 2009).
Teams Interested: Red Sox, Phillies, Rockies
What It Will Take: The Red Sox could ship the disappointing Jed Lowrie to Seattle as a starting point. The Phillies have Brian Bocock and the Rockies could ship the expendable Clint Barmes to Seattle.
There isn’t much to love about Jake Westbrook at this point of his career, but he could be enough to generate interest for a team seeking rotation depth. The market for starting pitcher’s is relatively thin, but that could play to his favor. He is 5-4 with a 4.69 ERA this season and strikeouts few (54 K in 96 IP).
Teams Interested: Rangers
What Will It Take: The Rangers eating all of Westbrook’s remaining contract for the 2010 season. Westbrook is a free agent at the end of the season which should pique Texas’ interest even more and make taking on the remainder of Westbrook’s $11 million this season more bearable. Texas is cash-strapped so there could be bargaining between the two clubs about prospects versus eating salary.
Cantu is having a down year and could be on the move if the Marlins feel they are completely out of it, which grows more likely by the day. Cantu is an instant fill on the corners and can help a team in need of third base help with the flexibility to handle first base as well.
Teams Interested: Angels, Phillies
What It Will Take: Cantu’s numbers are down across the board from his 100-RBI season a year ago. He is also in an arbitration year which is also likely to bring his price tag down. The market is fairly heavy on corner infielders, meaning Cantu can likely be had at a relatively cheap price of a pair of minor leaguers.
Millwood’s stock was higher a couple months ago, but a lackluster June has caused his stock to slip. Nevertheless, he is a veteran pitcher who can eat innings and that will help a team looking for rotation depth.
Teams Interested: Rangers, Phillies, Cardinals
What It Will Take: Millwood’s stock has slipped in recent weeks due to his own performance. As a result, the price for Millwood has a dropped as well. There are no concrete rumors or names to speak off, but Millwood’s recent inconsistent run will likely limit his price tag to a couple of minor league arms.
Scott is limited to a designated hitter role at this stage of his career, but that doesn’t mean he can’t be a bat for a team looking for offensive help. Scott recently went down with a hamstring injury, but should be back before the deadline and generate enough interest for a trade.
Teams Interested: White Sox, Angels
What It Will Take: With the Orioles possibly in firesale mode, the price tag won’t be heavy. Combine that with his recent injury and Scott will likely command a minor league bat and another low-level prospect.
The Indians are likely in sell mode especially when it comes to Austin Kearns and teams looking for another power source, designated hitter or bat off the bench. Kearns has been steady this season, hitting .272 with seven home runs and 34 RBI.
Teams Interested: Yankees, Angels, Red Sox
What It Will Take: It could be an interesting discussion seeing as the Yankees and Red Sox are notorious for raising the bid on players who draw interest from both. The Angels are still looking for another bat ever since Kendry Morales’ injury. The Indians want pitching and will likely as for two minor league arms for Kearns.
The Reds have dangled Harang during the last two and a half seasons, but few teams have taken the bait. His 18-38 record during that stretch is likely the culprit for his lack of suitors. Nevertheless, Harang is an innings eater who could help another National League team bridge the gap in their rotation. If he gets 30 starts, he will reach 200 innings. In today’s MLB, that’s value.
Teams Interested: Phillies, Dodgers
What It Will Take: The amount of times the Reds have put Harang on the market has decreased the amount the Reds can ask in return. The Reds have enough pitching on their farm to fill the void left by Harang, but will likely ask for a couple of high-level minor league bats with some projection.
Hernandez appears to defy age. The 35-year-old right-hander continues to eat innings and do so at a high level. Hernandez enters the final week before the All-Star Break with a 6-4 record and 2.98 ERA. He’s averaging 6 2/3 innings per start and could be a valuable piece to any team looking for rotation help.
Teams Interested: Twins, Cardinals, Phillies
What It Will Take: Hernandez is not among the first tier pitchers and may not be among the second tier pitchers, but the Nationals may put him on the market with the intention of getting back better value than anticipated. A 40-man roster arm and another young outfielder will be the Nationals target.
Ramirez was one of the most productive corner infielders in the National League, but injuries among other reasons have led to a precipitous drop in his numbers in recent seasons. Ramirez, who again battled injuries in 2010, is hitting just .177 with six home runs and 23 RBI. The Cubs’ drop in the standings could trigger a firesale in coming weeks. If so, Ramirez and his $16.75 million contract may be one of the first on the chopping block.
Teams Interested: Phillies, Twins, Angels
What It Will Take: Ramirez provides a tricky situation because he can opt out of the season. It will likely take a big money franchise to acquire Ramirez, but the new team will likely seek an assurance from Ramirez that he will opt out given his recent performance. However, his performance will give Ramirez more reason NOT to opt out. That circumstance will likely drop his value in prospects if teams absorb his money.
Tejada is another possible/likely victim if and whent he Orioles decide to cut bait with many of their veteran players. Tejada is having a respectable season (.279, 6 HR, 32 RBI) but would help solidify a number of teams’ vacancies at third base and/or provide insurance at the hot corner.
Teams Interested: Twins, Angels, Phillies
Tejada is a much cheaper option than Ramirez. Tejada commands less than $3 million for the rest of the season and is a free agent at the end of the season. As a result, his expiring contract will not command much value in return. Likely a mid-level pitching prospect and another low-level position player prospect.
Hill is no doubt having a down year seeing as he is hitting .189 with 11 home runs and 30 RBI, but Hill has the potential to be valuable bat with a change of scenery. Like others on this list before him, his down year at the plate will reduce his value. The Blue Jays want to build around guys like Hill and Adam Lind, but both of their down years will likely mean one is in Toronto.
Teams Interested: Rockies
What It Will Take: The Blue Jays have not officially put Hill on the market, but the Rockies could be desperate for middle infield help before Troy Tulowitzki returns. Despite Hill’s performance this season, he has the potential for much more and that means the Rockies may have to a larger than expected value for Hill. Two high-level minor leaguers, particularly bats, and another low-level minor league should be sufficient.
The White Sox minds might be changed considering their recent run back into AL Central contention, but Jenks’ struggles could persuade the team to move him especially if Ozzie Guillen has greater confidence in Matt Thornton to step into the role.
Teams Interested: Phillies
What It Will Take: Multiple teams have voiced their interested in Jenks according to rumors, but only the Phillies have been specifically identified. Jenks has slipped out of favor with the White Sox and is unlikely to receive an arbitration offer this offseason. His flexibility drops his value of a big leaguer going back the other way.
Aviles doesn’t offer much in the way of raw production, but he is hitting .319 in a utility role for the Royals. So why so high up the list despite two home runs and 13 RBI? There are many teams looking for middle infield insurance and Aviles is the best one remaining on the market.
Teams Interested: Red Sox, Rockies, Angels, Phillies
These four teams are the most publicly known to be after Aviles. All need insurance at second base, shortstop and third base. That competition should increase the price tag for a player who otherwise wouldn’t command much on the trade market. Given his role as a utility player the price tag will be limited to one or two minor leaguers.
The Royals potential firesale continues with Guillen. At this stage in his career, Guillen is strictly viewed as a designated hitter for most AL teams but there are NL teams out there who need outfield production. Guillen is a free agent at the end of the season which should bring his price tag down.
Teams Interested: Rays, Giants, Braves, Yankees
What It Will Take: Guillen’s price tag could vary depending on the competition for his services. Nevertheless, expiring contracts will also bring the price down. The Royals will likely ask for young arms with projection and possibly a mid-level prospect bat.
The Astros are going to be one of the biggest sellers of relievers before the trade deadline. Lindstrom is arguably their most impressive piece to move and there should be enough competition out there from teams seeking late-inning help.
Teams Interested: Reds, Rangers, Twins, Tigers
What It Will Take: The list may grow but nevertheless the Astros will likely pursue a minor leaguer that is big league ready potentially for the end of this season or the start of the 2011 season. The Astros want young talent who can play in the short term.
The Royals firesale could continue with the exit of DeJesus. The Royals’ centerfielder is in the midst of one of his best seasons which means his price is going to climb. DeJesus is hitting .325 this season and is defensive upgrade.
Teams Interested: Giants, Padres, Nationals
What It Will Take: The Royals are looking for strong value in return which means this could be the guy they try and hamstring guys with. The Padres will likely have to surrender one of their young outfielders in Jaff Decker, Everett Williams or Rymer Liriano. Despite limited power production, it’s likely going to take a high ranking outfield prospect to snatch DeJesus.
The Marlins have the money to keep Uggla but they may move him in an effort to get younger and get immediate help. Uggla is in an arbitration year, but is having a better year at the plate (at least in the average department) which figures to give his stock a little bump.
Teams Interested: Padres, Rockies
What It Will Take: The Marlins are unlikely to want a prospect that will take development in return for Uggla. Instead, they will want someone who can step in immediately. That may be tough for the Padres and Rockies given the current makeup of their rosters. That need for the Marlins for someone off a 25-man or 40-man roster could eventually drive all suitors away, but Uggla figures to hit the market anyways.
Bautista is enjoying a career season as the leading home run hitter in the American League. However, his .230 batting average and lack of track record is enough waver opinions of his stock right now. The Blue Jays could take advantage of his career year for some help on the mound.
Teams Interested: Giants, Twins, Braves
What It Will Take: The Blue Jays will up the price given Bautista’s production and the fact that his availability may not be anymore than a flirtation. The Jays want young talent, particularly on the mound which the Giants and Braves have in their farm systems. The Blue Jays could ask for Aaron Hicks from the Twins or Randall Delgado from the Braves.
Lilly could be one of the biggest pieces heading out of Chicago this summer if the Cubs' pains continue. Lilly is no stranger to being dealt at the deadline and could generate strong interested because of his 3.12 ERA this season. He is a free agent this winter which could give the Cubs greater desire to move him.
Teams Interested: Mets, Rangers, Phillies
What It Will Take: Given Lilly’s free agent status at the end of the season, the left-hander’s price tag shouldn’t be too high. The Cubs will likely ask for a quality outfield prospect like Double-A outfielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis and another pitcher from the Mets, and similar packages from the Rangers and Phillies. If both the Mets and Phillies are out of options for more desirable pitchers, competition for Lilly could up the price.
This is no sure thing that Lee is on the market, but if the Cubs decide over the next three to four weeks to blow the whole thing up, Lee could find his way out. Lee is a free agent this winter, but his full no-trade clause is a hurdle. Lee will likely decide to remain in Chicago unless a contender comes calling.
Teams Interested: Giants, Angels
What It Will Take: It’s going to take a combination of a strong package and contender calling to get Lee. However, the Giants are probably in the driver’s seat because they can package a young pitcher like Madison Bumgarner and outfielder Mike McBryde to get the talks moving. Lee is a native of Northern California and may be willing to wave his no-trade clause for a return home.
Hart is in midst of a career season and thus his price tag may never be higher. Nevertheless, teams are seeking right-handed power for the corner outfield. The Brewers are mired in mediocrity this season, but Brewers’ brass has not yet decided to sell their biggest pieces. That could change over the next few weeks.
Teams Interested: Giants, Braves
For the Giants, the package likely starts with power hitting outfielder Chris Dominguez and a pitcher like Dan Runzler. The Braves are likely looking at the same combination of an outfielder with good offensive projection and a pitcher who can compete sooner than later.
It may be a tough pill to swallow, but the Astros may part with their franchise player this summer if he can get them youth and value. The other sticking point is Berkman’s $15 million option he wants picked up if he waives his no-trade clause. That limits the amount of teams willing to pursue the first baseman.
Teams Interested: Yankees, Red Sox, Angels
What It Will Take: No shocker here that it’s all big money teams. However, a guarantee of picking up Berkman’s massive option may be too rich even for these teams. The Yankees and Red Sox have a need for another power bat while the Angels have a need at first base. The Yankees would likely have to part with one of their top catchers while the Angels are likely looking at a price tag starting with Brandon Wood. The Red Sox could dangle Lars Anderson, but his stock has drop in recent years and Boston has little in the way of power bats on the farm.
The Rays haven’t announced that Upton is on the market, but he could be in a flash if the club believes it has a better chance at re-signing Carl Crawford if it deals Upton. Despite some personality red flags, Upton is one of the best young outfield talents in the game and still has two years of club control before he hits free agency.
Teams Interested: Giants, Nationals, Padres
What It Will Take: If the Rays do decide to shop Upton, it is going to take at least an organization’s top outfield prospect going back the other way. For the Giants, that likely means Thomas Neal or Roger Kieschnick. For the Nationals that’s Michael Burgess or Justin Maxwell.
Willingham is on pace for a career season but could be on the market because of impending arbitration and beyond. The 31-year-old outfielder is reportedly to desire a multi-year contract this offseason, but the Nationals may punt that decision for another year in an effort to save.
Teams Interested: Reds, Giants
What It Will Take: If this is a cost-cutting measure, the Nationals will want someone they can control for at least a couple more seasons. The Reds may put their hat in the ring in an effort to boost their offense for a second-half run. The price tag will likely start with outfield prospect Chris Heisey. For the Giants, it is likely the aforementioned Neal or Kieschnick.
The more the Padres win, the less likely they are to deal their franchise bat. That keeps Gonzalez down the list despite the fact that the Padres may pull of a surprising move at the last moment. Gonzalez has a relatively meager $5.5 million option for 2011.
Teams Interested: Red Sox
What It Will Take: The Red Sox are the team that’s been most closely tied to Gonzalez for the better part of the last 18 months. However, the deal seems unlikely given the Padres’ success this season. If the Red Sox could pull it off, it would require some combination of Lars Anderson, outfielder Ryan Kalish and a starting pitcher.
There are numerous teams looking for infield help (or simply another bat). Ty Wigginton’s name has so far been the hottest rumor on the hot stove. At .246 with 14 home runs and 43 RBI, Wigginton isn’t having the most productive season. However, the remainder of his $3 million owed this season and impending free agency make him a very hot commodity.
Teams Interested: Yankees, Phillies, Red Sox, Mets
What It Will Take: These four teams could enter in a serious skirmish for Wigginton as the deadline draws near. The Orioles will likely ask for shortstop prospect Eduardo Nunez from the Yankees and possibly build a deal around pitcher Trevor May from the Phillies.
Everyone needs bullpen help which is why Matt Capps, the best closer available on the market, is so high up the list. Capps is having a career season for the Nationals who may be willing to part with him if they can get promising young arms in return. Given his status on the market, the price tag could be hefty for Capps. Combine that with the fact that Capps is under team control for 2011.
Teams Interested: Twins, Tigers
What It Will Take: The AL Central leaders are both in need of late-inning help so the race could be on for Capps. The Nationals will likely want a starting pitching prospect that is close to the big leagues from both teams and a mid-level prospect bat.
Dunn has expressed his interest to remain in Washington and hopes to sign a multi-year deal before the trade deadline to squash any trade talk. That appears unlikely to happen as the Nationals will at least hear what’s out there. If Dunn can’t remain in Washington, he would like to stay in the National League as to avoid becoming a full-time designated hitter.
Teams Interested: White Sox, Angels, Yankees, Red Sox
What It Will Take: The Yankees and Red Sox both want a power bat. Dunn would likely become a full-time DH in New York though he could see some time at first base for the Red Sox (ditto the Angels). He’s likely bound for the DH role in Chicago. His impending free agency brings his tag down a little, but the Nationals will look for a power bat from all four teams interested in Big Donkey.
Carmona has appeared to shake off injury concers which is good because there are a number of teams inquiring about him this month. Plus, Carmona is young and is under team control through 2014 at manageable prices with flexibility (he is under option years from 2012-2014).
Teams Interested: Mets, Phillies, Rangers
What It Will Take: Those three teams are the frontrunners for Carmona at the moment. All will likely be on the hook for a top pitching prospect or top offensive prospect to go the other way for Carmona. That means the Mets could be on the hook for Jenrry Mejia while the Phillies could be on the hook for Dominic Brown.
Fielder is one of the best young sluggers in the game and though he is after a down year (by his standards), he will likely command a robust package including a frontline starting pitching prospect and corner, power bat from any trade partner. Teams hunting Fielder have to keep in mind that he is a free agent after this season and will almost assuredly test the market.
Teams Interested: Giants, White Sox, Red Sox, Angels
What It Will Take: The Giants likely have the most parts to put together a package possibly starting with Madison Bumgarner and maybe, just maybe, Buster Posey as well. The White Sox could be looking at outfielder Jared Mitchell and right-hander Dan Hudson going the other way.
Oswalt has so far waffled on the idea of leaving Houston, but the right-hander no doubt wants to join a team that is in a better position to win. Oswalt is signed through 2011 with a $16 million option for 2012 ($2 million buyout). Any team who trades for Oswalt will be on the hook for a lot of his contract unless they can pull a cost-sharing deal with the Astros.
Teams Interested: Mets, Rangers, Tigers, Nationals
What It Will Take: That depends on how much money teams can convince the Astros to take on. The more of Oswalt’s salary the Astros eat, the higher the price tag in terms of prospects. Regardless, any of Oswalt’s suitors are looking at a frontline pitching prospect like the Mets’ Jenrry Mejia or Martin Perez from the Rangers plus a couple of bats.
The more the Diamondbacks slip out of the race, the better the chances they deal Haren. His stock isn’t as high as this time last year, but he is the second best starting pitcher on the market this summer and could net the Diamondbacks a sizable haul of prospects to revamp a thin D’backs system.
Teams Interested: Cardinals, Reds, Nationals, Mets
What It Will Take: The Cardinals appear the most hot on Haren’s trail, but the $30 million remaining on his contract could deter the Cardinals and other teams. Haren’s slip in stock will likely allow teams to avoid having to surrender the best of the best from their pitching. Instead, teams could land Haren for a collection of solid, projectable minor leaguers that will give the D’backs something to work with on the farm.
The biggest target of the trade deadline is likely on his way out of Seattle. Now, it’s a matter of where and for how much. Signing Lee to an extension will be one of the biggest sticking points of his trade process, especially because he will command a significant raise from his current $5.5 million salary. Teams after Lee will have to invest in the bank in addition to prospects.
Teams Interested: Mets, Twins, Reds, Angels, Rangers, Yankees
What It Will Take: The Mariners want a legit catching prospect that will produce at the plate. That puts the Yankees in the driver’s seat because they have Jesus Montero and Austin Romine, but the Yankees must weigh whether the prospects of another $15 million-plus pitcher this offseason coinciding with the futures of Andy Pettitte and Javier Vazquez.
The Twins have Wilson Ramos to dangle out there while the Reds and Rangers have the arms to possibly get a deal done. The Mets will likely put the full-court press on in a couple weeks with a package focusing on Jenrry Mejia, Wilmer Flores and likely another outfield prospect. Don’t sleep on the Reds who could jump in with a deal focused on first baseman Yonder Alonso.